Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe tells Boris Johnson: I lived in the shadow of your gaffe for over four years

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Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe 'clearly and categorically' told the Prime Minister about the impact of his mistake - Andrew Parsons/No 10 Downing Street
Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe 'clearly and categorically' told the Prime Minister about the impact of his mistake - Andrew Parsons/No 10 Downing Street

Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe has confronted Boris Johnson over his gaffe that caused her remain in prison in Iran, telling the Prime Minister: "I lived in the shadow of your words for four and a half years."

When he was foreign secretary in 2017, Mr Johnson mistakenly said that she had been “teaching people journalism” in the country - which was denied by her employer and husband.

During a visit to Number 10 with her family on Friday, Mrs Zaghari-Ratcliffe “clearly and categorically” told the Prime Minister about the impact of his blunder.

Richard Ratcliffe, her husband, told reporters that Mr Johnson did “not specifically” apologise for his part in his wife’s incarceration.

Richard Ratcliffe said Boris Johnson did 'not specifically' apologise for his comments, widely reported in Iran as the reason for her lengthy imprisonment - Andrew Parsons/No 10 Downing Street
Richard Ratcliffe said Boris Johnson did 'not specifically' apologise for his comments, widely reported in Iran as the reason for her lengthy imprisonment - Andrew Parsons/No 10 Downing Street

The remarks were widely been reported in Iran as the reason for her lengthy imprisonment in the country, with Iranian judiciary citing his comments as evidence that Mrs Zaghari-Ratcliffe had lied about being on holiday in the country.

This was the first time that Mr Johnson and Mrs Zaghari-Ratcliffe have met since she was released from prison two months ago, after being held on the charge of inciting “propaganda against the regime”.

Speaking outside Downing Street, Tulip Siddiq, Mrs Zaghari-Ratcliffe’s MP and spokesman, said: "I was really proud of Nazanin. She was sitting next to the Prime Minister and she told him very clearly and categorically that his words had had a big impact on her and that she had lived in the shadow of his words for the best part of four and a half years.

She added that Mr Johnson looked “quite shocked” and that the “words had a big impact”.

The Prime Minister did agree to consider giving evidence to the foreign affairs select committee, which is currently conducting an inquiry into the failures which led to Mrs Zaghari-Ratcliffe’s lengthy imprisonment.

"So they've actually asked if the Prime Minister would give evidence because we think that would be quite compelling and powerful, and he said he would look into that,” Ms Siddiq said.

She went on to say that Ms Zaghari-Ratcliffe “still has nightmares” about being in solitary confinement.

"I think there is a process to dig through what went wrong, what might have gone better, and probably what could be done to protect people better going forwards,” Mr Ratcliffe told reporters.

He added that Boris Johnson thanked Mrs Zaghari-Ratcliffe for a hat she had made for his son, Wilfred, during their meeting.

Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe daughter Gabriella outside No 10 Downing Street - Martyn Wheatley / i-Images
Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe daughter Gabriella outside No 10 Downing Street - Martyn Wheatley / i-Images
Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe, her husband Richard Ratcliffe and daughter Gabriella outside 10 Downing Street - Victoria Jones/PA Wire
Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe, her husband Richard Ratcliffe and daughter Gabriella outside 10 Downing Street - Victoria Jones/PA Wire

The Prime Minister's spokesman said before their meeting: "I think it is important to remember that it was the Iranian government who were responsible for her unfair detention, and the decision to release her was always in their gift.

"However, I would point back to the Prime Minister's words, his answers to questions on this before and he has previously apologised for his comments in 2017."

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